You’ve had a long day. You were up at 6.55am to get to school to deliver an assembly. You had badly scheduled meetings for the next six hours and had to fit in a trip to Tescos and so didn’t really get a break. You then had an after school club. Now you have a young person being rude in your face because you forgot to bring pizza which you promised last week. In fairness though, this young person always criticises you for not bringing pizza. So anyway, you lose your cool and tell him that he should grow up and stop being such an idiot. You tell him if he wants pizza he can get it himself. At this point you realise you’ve probably crossed the line, but as you’re annoyed, you tell him he’s a moaning so and so, and he’s always miserable, and he needs to stop blaming everyone else in his life and start taking responsibility for his actions. Then you tell him to get out of your face and you storm off in a huff.
You know that in about five minutes you’ll feel bad about this. You do. Worse than losing your cool, worse than insulting this young person, you also pushed back the state of your witness to negative something or other. If this is what someone who loves Jesus is like, why would he care about Him?
Good news! That is what the gospel is after all. The first is this, your sin against this young person died on the cross with Jesus. It was nailed to it. So, you’re forgiven. And you know how you were forgiven? While you were a sinner, Christ Jesus died for you. And so the second bit of good news is this, you’re not testifying to your goodness to the young person, you’re testifying to Christ’s goodness. Instead of saying “look at me and how I’m living now, don’t you want some of that” you’re saying “look at how Jesus has forgiven even me, don’t you want some of that”. Third, because you know somewhat how bad sin is (you sent Jesus to the cross!) and you know what it is to be forgiven you now possess the ability to ask for forgiveness. So, go show a young person the gospel in true repentance and grace and in a merciful saviour.